a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
Boomer nostalgia lurks around every corner. We Boomers have been around long enough we are celebrating “50 year anniversaries” for anything we remember from the 60s. How did you celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the Beatle’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show? How about the 50th anniversary of the Mustang? Why not have a party to commemorate the invention of Mr. Potato Head? Those were the days!
I attended Olivet Nazarene College in the early 1970s. There were a group of guys I ran with called the Burpos. We sucked every drop of joy possible from our college days. Those were the good old days.
I get it. The 60s and 70s were groovy. We had a “thing going on.” But Boomer nostalgia can embody the deceptive curse of the “good old days.” Longing for the good old days is dangerous because it can keep you from living life to the full.
Here’s 4 ways to protect yourself from the dangers of Boomer nostalgia.
- Remind yourself the good old days had major problems. In the 60s two Kennedys were murdered. M. L. King Jr. fell to an assassins bullet. Race riots dotted the landscape with alarming frequency. And there was this country called Viet Nam. (As I type these words I’m in Starbucks. I just noticed the music in the background: “Anticipation” sung by Carly Simon with this refrain: “These are the good old days.”) They were great days but they had plenty of challenges.
- Boomer nostalgia threatens to steal your joy for THIS moment. Life is lived in the NOW not the past. This moment is life. There are great memories of the past but it is also littered with broken dreams, hurts, and pain. Refuse to dwell in the past. Live today with all the gusto you can muster. No one can live today to the full while hanging on to the past.
- Time spent focusing on the past means less time you can focus on the future. The past is gone. We cannot change it or improve it. From today moving forward, your BEST days are in the future. I say this with full confidence. Why? Because the past is dead. But the future is filled with possibilities. When you keep looking backward you gamble with your future. A full life can only be lived looking forward, not in the rearview mirror.
- Use the past to improve your future. Too many people dwell on the past and wallow in helpless self-pity. Don’t do that. Instead learn from the past to make your future the best days of your life. Nostalgia tends to bring on a wave of sloppy emotions. But when you think of the past use it to your advantage. Learn from your mistakes. If you find yourself dwelling on the good old days use it to improve your future.
There you have it. Your best days are ahead. Credence Clearwater got it right. It’s time to “leave the sinking ship behind.”
Are you ready to move forward with your life?